Carter G. Woodson

Black History Month is a yearly celebration of Black cultural and historical achievements founded by scholar Dr. Carter G. Woodson. It originated as Black History Week and was later expanded to include the full month of February. Carter G. Woodson is also the author of, The Mis-education of the Negro, which takes a daring look at how Black Americans have been indoctrinated/mis-educated by American society about themselves, leading us to lose our historical compass and falsely believe ourselves inferior to other races. The Mis-education of the Negro advocates for Black Americans to gain historical knowledge of their achievements in the world, thereby increasing our self awareness and pride.

Here are 15 Thought Provoking quotes from the founder of Black History Month, Carter G. Woodson:

 

1. If you teach the Negro that he has accomplished as much good as any other race he will aspire to equality and justice without regard to race. Such an effort would upset the program of the oppressor in Africa and America. Play up before the Negro, then, his crimes and shortcomings. Let him learn to admire the Hebrew, the Greek, the Latin and the Teuton. Lead the Negro to detest the man of African blood–to hate himself.

 

2. If you can control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his action. When you determine what a man shall think you do not have to concern yourself about what he will do. If you make a man feel that he is inferior, you do not have to compel him to accept an inferior status, for he will seek it himself. If you make a man think that he is justly an outcast, you do not have to order him to the back door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one.

 

3. Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.

 

4. We should emphasize not Negro History, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world, void of national bias, race, hate, and religious prejudice. There should be no indulgence in undue eulogy of the Negro. The case of the Negro is well taken care of when it is shown how he has far influenced the development of civilization.

 

5. The mere imparting of information is not education. Above all things, the effort must result in making a man think and do for himself.

6. The confidence of the people is worth more than money.

7. Real education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better…

 

8. The thought of the inferiority of the Negro is drilled into him in almost every class he enters and in almost every book he studies. If he happens to leave school after he masters the fundamentals, before he finishes high school or reaches college, he will naturally escape some of this bias and may recover in time to be of service.

9. No people can go forward when the majority of those who should know better have chosen to go backward, but this is exactly what most of our misleaders do.

 

10. History shows that it does not matter who is in power or what revolutionary forces take over the government, those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they had in the beginning.

11. The oppressor has always indoctrinated the weak with his interpretation of the crimes of the strong.

12. In the schools of business administration Negroes are trained exclusively in the psychology and economics of Wall Street and are, therefore, made to despise the opportunities to run ice wagons, push banana carts, and sell peanuts among their own people. Foreigners, who have not studied economics but have studied Negroes, take up this business and grow rich.

13. The same educational process which inspires and stimulates the oppressor with the thought that he is everything and has accomplished everything worth while, depresses and crushes at the same time the spark of genius in the Negro by making him feel that his race does not amount to much and never will measure up to the standards of other peoples.

14. Philosophers have long conceded, however, that every man has two educators: ‘that which is given to him, and the other that which he gives himself. Of the two kinds the latter is by far the more desirable. Indeed all that is most worthy in man he must work out and conquer for himself. It is that which constitutes our real and best nourishment. What we are merely taught seldom nourishes the mind like that which we teach ourselves.

15.  If the Negro in the ghetto must eternally be fed by the hand that pushes him into the ghetto, he will never become strong enough to get out of the ghetto.

Jessica Ann Mitchell Aiwuyor is the founder of OurLegaci.com. To reach JAM, email her at OurLegaci@gmail.com. Follow her on Facebook at Facebook.com/JAMAiwuyor.

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